April 18, 2016
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Federal amendment introduced to prevent hefty taxes on craft beer, wine and beverages

Washington has more craft distilleries than any other state, is second in the nation in craft breweries, and the state’s wine production has doubled in the past decade. To help protect and expand the state’s craft beverage industry, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and other lawmakers last week introduced a bill that would reform federal taxes on small craft brewers.

Beer is currently taxed at $18 per 31-gallon barrel with a reduced rate of $7 for the first 60,000 barrels for producers of less than 2 million barrels a year. The proposed bipartisan amendment would reduce the tax to $16 per barrel, and for domestic breweries producing less than 2 million barrels, the tax would drop to $3.50 per barrel for the first 60,000.

The change would mean big savings for small craft brewers – in Washington, the smallest would see their per-barrel tax cut in half. The amendment has similar provisions for wine and spirit production.

"That is money that comes off the top of every keg that a brewer could reinvest in their company," said Anne McGrath, executive director of the Washington Brewers Guild. "They could then increase production or add employees."

The Puget Sound Business Journal has more.

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